Character Analysis Of Ophelia And How She Conects The Two Plots Of The Play Hamlet. The Two Plots Are The Hamlet Plot And The Polonius Plot.

1254 words - 5 pages

Ophelia in Hamlet is generally considered a very simple character who exemplifies the perfect young, innocent woman. However, her importance to the play shows that there is more to her than most people think Ophelia is a substantial character in the play whose flaw is her vulnerability to being manipulated by others. With this flaw, Ophelia becomes a tool that allows Shakespeare to connect the two parallel plots of the play, Hamlet's and Polonius', as well as set the actions of the play into motion. Polonius and Claudius use Ophelia's weakness to facilitate their testing of Hamlet. Hamlet, on the other hand, manipulates Ophelia to conceal his true intentions from Polonius and the court. Ophelia's vulnerability enables the two plots of the play to coexist. Ophelia's death marks the point in the play where the two plots come together. Ophelia's vulnerability makes her a key character because it allows the parallel progression of the two plots, thus driving the actions of the play's overall plot.Being so easily swayed, Ophelia complies with her brother and father when they both tell her to stop her relationship with Hamlet. It is at this point that Ophelia becomes the intermediary between the two plots of the play. Polonius' plot tries to determine the purpose behind Hamlet's actions, and Hamlet's plot attempts to use madness as a shield for Hamlet to accomplish his revenge for his father's murder. Polonius and Claudius manipulate Ophelia to do what they want her to do in order to prove that she is the cause of Hamlet's madness. "Her father and myself We'll bestow ourselves that, seeing unseen,/We may of their encounter frankly judge,/And gather by him, as he is behav'd,/If't be th'affliction of his love or no/That thus he suffers for" (III.i.32-36). Ophelia, incapable of resisting the coercion of another character, must take part in the plan to test Hamlet. Polonius' plot is dependent on Ophelia's weakness because it is the only means that they can use to test Hamlet.Polonius and Claudius are never certain whether or not Ophelia is the cause of Hamlet's madness. This uncertainty causes them to search for the truth, which they think is found in Ophelia. Their search is what enables Hamlet to continue his actions without Polonius and the court knowing his true intentions. Hamlet knows that Polonius and the court think that he is mad due to his love for Ophelia and her rejection of him. Hamlet also knows that Polonius and Claudius plan to use Ophelia to confirm their thoughts on his madness. With this knowledge, Hamlet is able to manipulate Ophelia into believing his "madness" and be certain that her information will reach Polonius and Claudius, furthering his protective masquerade.Hamlet's most important manipulation of Ophelia takes place in the nunnery scene. During this scene Hamlet is able to best demonstrate his madness to Ophelia. Hamlet begins to show his "madness" to Ophelia when she returns the love tokens that he previously gave to her....

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